Kids don’t always make the best choices. Unfortunately, sometimes bad decisions can have serious criminal consequences. If your child has been charged with a crime in Dayton, it might be tempting to think that they’ll get off easy because of their age. In reality, however, that’s not always the case.
Some of the most common penalties faced by juvenile offenders include:
- Community service
- Court-ordered therapy
- Driver’s license suspension
- House arrest
- Criminal record.
If your child has been arrested on suspicion of committing a juvenile crime, and you don’t want them to face these serious consequences, it is vital that you fight back hard against the law enforcement officials and prosecuting attorneys trying to prove your child’s guilt. Hiring a skilled and respected juvenile defense lawyer is the best place to start.
The criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC have years of experience helping the young people of Montgomery County defend themselves when they are facing criminal charges. If your child needs us, we will be there. To set up an initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable lawyers, just give our Dayton, Ohio law office a call at (937) 531-0435.
Defining Juvenile Delinquency in Montgomery County
The state of Ohio classifies misbehaving young people into three different categories. These categories depend on the frequency and severity of their offenses.
Under Section 2151.022 of the Ohio Revised Code, any minor who:
- Does not submit to the reasonable control of their parent,
- Is a truant,
- Breaks the law, or
- Otherwise acts in a manner that may cause injury to themselves or others
is classified as an unruly child.
Section 2152.02 of the Ohio Revised Code explains that anyone under the age of 18 who carries out an action that would be a criminal offense if carried out by an adult is classified as a juvenile delinquent.
Serious Youthful Offender
Section 2152.02 of the Ohio Revised Code further states that a juvenile who must be sentenced to a mandatory serious youthful offender term is classified as a serious youthful offender. This term does not apply if the case is transferred to an adult court.
Common Juvenile Offenses
Young people can be arrested for a wide variety of reasons. Some of the most common include:
- Underage drinking
- Drug crimes
- Traffic offenses
- Sex crimes
- Violent crimes
If your child has been charged with one of these criminal offenses, you should contact a juvenile criminal law attorney as quickly as possible. They will be able to provide you with sound legal advice and fight to have the charges reduced or potentially dismissed entirely.
Understanding the Ohio Juvenile Court Process
In the state of Ohio, the juvenile delinquency process usually begins when someone alerts law enforcement officials to an offense that they believe was committed by a minor. If the accusations have merit, a police officer can take the offending juvenile into custody.
If the alleged criminal offense is serious, officers may detain the minor for up to six hours. That limit is reduced to three hours for less serious cases. When the initial hold period has concluded, the child may be handed over to a parent/guardian or placed into a juvenile detention facility.
Over the next 72 hours, the juvenile court will set an adjudicatory hearing to determine whether or not the minor committed the offense that they have been accused of. If the juvenile is found not guilty, they will be free to go. If they are found guilty of the offense, they will then be sentenced at a dispositional hearing.
During the dispositional hearing, the judge will review the case against the minor as well as their previous history of juvenile crimes. Serial offenders are usually given much more severe punishments than first-time offenders.
Comparing Juvenile Court to Adult Court
Many young offenders walk into juvenile court expecting it to be the same as the adult courts that they have seen on television. While there are plenty of similarities between the two, there is one notable difference – juvenile courts do not have juries. Instead, the vast majority of cases are ruled on by a single judge.
The remaining aspects of the juvenile court experience are largely the same as an adult court. For instance, juvenile defendants are allowed to have legal representation in the courtroom who can argue and call witnesses on their behalf. Similarly, the prosecution must meet the beyond reasonable doubt threshold to prove guilt.
On occasion, the state’s attorney may file to move juvenile cases from the juvenile to the adult court system. For 16- and 17-year-old defendants who have been accused of serious crimes such as rape or murder, the transfer to adult court is mandatory. This process is known as a juvenile bindover.
The state of Ohio uses bindovers when it believes:
- that the juvenile system cannot effectively rehabilitate a defendant, and
- the defendant should spend a prolonged period in prison.
In the juvenile system, incarcerated individuals must be released when they reach the age of 21. No such limits exist in the adult system.
Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Treatment Program
To better rehabilitate juvenile offenders whose crimes can be tied back to an addiction to drugs or alcohol, Montgomery County provides a judicially-supervised drug treatment program.
Juveniles who are enrolled in the program can expect:
- Random drug testing
- Community supervision
- Sanctions and rewards
Montgomery County’s drug treatment program also provides young people with access to summer camps, sports leagues, recreational activities, and seasonal employment – all designed to help the individual get their life back on track.
Generally speaking, juvenile offenders should expect to take anywhere from nine months to two years to complete the drug treatment program. If they are successful, however, they can have their criminal defense lawyer file a motion to dismiss their criminal charges. In the vast majority of cases, the motion is accepted and all charges are dropped.
How a Skilled Juvenile Defense Lawyer from Suhre & Associates Can Help
If your child has been arrested on a juvenile crime charge, one of our experienced attorneys can assist in the following ways:
Use Knowledge and Experience to Protect Your Child’s Rights
When holding your child in custody, law enforcement officials must follow a set of strict rules which outline the actions that they can and cannot take. Without legal representation, your child will need to stay vigilant to make sure that the officers are not infringing on their rights. If you hire Suhre & Associates, we will be in the room to protect and stand up for your child’s rights for the duration of their detention period.
Fight to Reduce the Charges Against Your Child
It can be terrifying to see your child charged with a serious crime such as assault or drug trafficking. Our skilled attorneys may be able to speak with the prosecuting attorney or law enforcement official to have the severity of the charge reduced. With the right lawyer by your child’s side, a drug trafficking charge could end up being reduced to a simple drug possession charge.
Help You and Your Child Navigate the Complex Legal System
The juvenile criminal justice system can be confusing and a little erratic – especially if you have never been through it before. A knowledgeable juvenile defense attorney from Suhre & Associates will be able to walk you and your child through the system, provide sound legal advice, and explain exactly what will happen at every step of the process. Having a good understanding of what is going on can be a huge help to your child as they go through this difficult process.
Work Hard to Make Sure the Prosecution is Focused on Rehabilitation Instead of Punishment
The stated intent of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate young people so that they may become upstanding members of society when they grow up. Unfortunately, prosecuting attorneys sometimes get a little carried away and begin seeking sentences that are aimed at punishing the defendant rather than rehabilitating them. Our experienced attorneys make sure that the prosecution remains focused on providing your child with the rehabilitation they need, instead of punishing them unnecessarily.
Minimize Risk of Your Child Getting a Criminal Record
If your child has a permanent criminal record, they may have trouble finding a job or renting an apartment when they grow up. Fortunately, juvenile crimes do not necessarily need to stay on their record for the rest of their lives. A skilled attorney from our firm can file a motion to have the offense removed from your child’s record once their sentence has been completed.
Dayton, Ohio’s Experienced Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys
It can be scary when your child is arrested and charged with a crime. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with this on your own. Hiring an attorney can make a huge difference as you fight to protect your child’s future.
The attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC have decades of combined experience helping the people of Montgomery County with their legal needs. Whenever you need us to help you or one of your loved ones with a case, we will be there. All you need to do is call our Dayton-based law office or contact us online to set up a free consultation. The state won’t waste any time in building a case against your child, so reach out to us today.